Antedating of "Capitalist"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 23 11:45:11 UTC 2004

On Thu, 22 Jan 2004, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:

> "Capitalist"  actually appears in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations
> (1776), in the discussion of Quesnay: "Hence with the aid of the
> common observation that where a capitalist appears, labourers soon
> [snip]
> capitale." But it's very odd that the OED doesn't have it, since
> you'd figure Murray would have taken pains to see that Smith was
> combed over very carefully, particularly for this sort of vocabulary.

Actually the word does not appear in Smith.  The quote you found is from
front matter, not written by Smith, in a later edition.


Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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